The government says deaths from days of violence rose to 79 in Gauteng province and 258 in KwaZulu-Natal.
Unrest in South Africa this month claimed 337 lives, the government said Thursday, marking a further jump in the death toll from 276 announced the previous day.
“The South African police have reviewed the total number of deaths in Gauteng [province] at 79 and KwaZulu-Natal at 258 in connection with the unrest, ”said Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, minister in the president’s office.
He added that some of the latest deaths were of people who succumbed to injuries sustained during the riots.
Widespread looting and burning of businesses erupted earlier this month, a day after former President Jacob Zuma began serving a 15-month jail sentence for ignoring a corruption investigation.
The violence became the worst malaise since the end of apartheid, prompting President Cyril Ramaphosa to label it an attempted “insurrection”.
The violence spread through the home province of Zuma, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the two most populous provinces, which together account for half of South Africa’s economic output.
Zuma was allowed to briefly leave jail in the southeastern town of Estcourt on Thursday to attend the funeral of his brother Michael, who died of illness several days after the former president was jailed.
The violence has subsided and so far six people, including a radio DJ, have been arrested on charges of inciting to commit acts of public violence.
Several thousand more are arrested for shooting and setting fire.
The scale of destruction and loss of life, which was fueled by the poverty and inequality that have persisted for nearly three decades since the end of apartheid in 1994, is still becoming clear.
The authorities have managed to control the violence. But the economic cost is estimated at 20 billion rand ($ 1.36 billion) in KwaZulu-Natal alone, as 161 shopping malls, 11 warehouses and eight factories suffered major damage.
The extent of the damage in Gauteng is still being collated.